All Jesus did and endured was because of His great love for us. And when approached by a Pharisee who asked what was the greatest commandment of all, the Lord’s answer? Love. Love for God, and each other. Love is so vital, Jesus adds, upon this is the foundation of the Law and the Prophets. But loving as Jesus loves can only happen if our love for Him, is greater than our love for ourselves. And the proof of this is in the way we treat others. For as the apostle John points out, to say that we love God and yet not love others, makes us liars. (1 John 4:20) So hearts that put Christ first, no longer demonstrate a self centered, sinful love, but the completely selfless and sacrificial love of Jesus.
That kind of love may seem impossible. But the closer we get to Christ, and the more we experience His unconditional love, an amazing thing happens. Our heart begins to change. Once hardened, selfish, and worldly, through the work of the Spirit, it becomes softened, open, and overflowing with gratitude. Gratitude for all that God has done for us. And from that thankfulness, springs forth the ability to see, and more importantly, love others as Jesus does.
Our goal as Christians, is to become transformed into the image of Christ. To mirror His unconditional love, loving one another just as He has loved us. (John 15:12) 1 John 4:9-11 powerfully reminds us, “God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love another.” This is the message echoed throughout the Bible and especially in the teachings of Jesus. And to me, it is the greatest love story of all!